I apologize for this long post but it is a chapter from How Shall We Order the Child. It talks about beginning in the womb to train up the child. Judges 13 is the account of Samson’s parents’ inquiry as to how to order their child when given the news they were to become parents. The information was very helpful to me as I was pregnant with each of our 4 children and it is prevalent in my mind and heart right now as we are expecting our 4th grandchild in January!! Here’s a picture
Set Apart From the Womb
Judges 13:7, 12-14
“But he said unto me, Behold, thou shalt conceive, and bear a son;and now drink no wine nor strong drink, neither eat any unclean thing:for the child shall be a Nazarite to God from the womb to the day of his death.”
“And Manoah said, Now let thy words come to pass. How shall we order the child,and how shall we do unto him? And the angel of the Lord said unto Manoah,of all that I said unto the woman let her beware. She may not eat of any thing that cometh of the vine,neither let her drink wine or strong drink, nor eat any unclean thing: all that command her let her observe.”
Manoah wanted God’s will concerning his child so he enquired of God as to how to order the child. Possibly this father-to-be was looking for instructions on how to care for the child or how to disciple him after he was born which is usually what concerns an expectant parent. But God’s plan was to begin right then and the child was not even conceived yet. God wanted the child to be a Nazarite from the womb which meant he wanted Samson set apart for him from the beginning. The instructions given concerned what went into the mother’s body. This referred to not only physical food and drink but also spiritual nourishment for we are not just physical beings.
I Corinthians 6:20 says that we have a spirit and body. What a mother to be eats during pregnancy feeds the child physically. It is necessary for the baby’s normal, healthy physical development. In the same way, what the mother takes into her spirit feeds the baby’s spirit. Andrew Murray, in his book, How to Raise Your Children for Christ, points out “in that holy time of mystery, when mother and child are still one, and influences from a mother’s spirit pass into the child, God says that the mother is to obey all that He commands.”(Judges 13:14) God wants the mother obeying His Word and thus feeding the child’s spirit with scripture.
A majority of children are conceived and brought into the world and never have their spirit nourished and developed. If the child’s spirit is not nourished, he has no desire for God because it is pointed out all through the Bible that God deals with man’s spirit.
John 4:24 “God is a spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.”
Romans 8:16 “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:”
God wants the spirit of man to be predominate but the world spends time making mighty bodies instead of mighty spirits. Paul prays Ephesians 3:16:”That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory,to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man:”
God did not want Samson’s mother to allow any unclean thing into her body. It is important to abstain from any harmful or unclean thing during pregnancy such as drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, etc. which have been proven to harm the baby physically. It is just as important to keep out unclean thoughts, words, attitudes, and actions which will harm the baby’s spirit. The way to keep your attitudes, thoughts, and actions clean is by meditating on the Word of God.
Psalm 119: “The Word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against You.”
Psalm 119:15 “I will meditate in thy precepts, and have respect unto thy ways.”
Isaiah 26:3 You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, whose thoughts are fixed on you!
According to this verse, meditation on God will keep the mother free from worry and stress which has been proven to affect the baby. Not only should the mother just meditate on God’s Word but time should be spent by both parents praying scripture into the baby’s life.
Isaiah 55:11 So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth. It shall not return to Me void, But it shall accomplish what I please, And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.
Send the word into the baby’s life through prayer. Before our children were born, one of the prayers I prayed for them was from I Peter 3:4 for him to have a “meek and quiet spirit”. At our firstborn’s first doctor visit the doctor remarked at what a quiet baby he was. There is power in praying the Word!
Psychologists say there is no question that the unborn baby can hear. His physical ears operate at least four months before he is born. His spiritual ears operate from the very start. The baby needs to hear the Word from the womb and be surrounded by the name of Jesus because of the importance of that name.
Philip. 2:9-11 Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
The father’s role is essential in the baby’ spiritual development. Notice that Manoah was the one who inquired as to how to order the child, not his wife. He recognized his responsibility for the child. Notice how his words with the angel, “Let thy words come to pass” showed his surrender to God to have His will done. The fact that he asked God how to raise the child showed his dependence on God. Manoah was given the responsibility of seeing that the woman obeyed God’s Words thus making him the spiritual leader for his family, even for the child in the womb.
There are references all through the Bible of God’s dealings in the womb. Psalm 139:13-16 describes God’s prenatal care in forming our bodies:
Psalm 139:13-16 You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—and how well I know it. You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb. You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.
Isaiah 49:1:”The Lord has called me from the womb; from the bowels of my mother hath he made mention of my name.”
Psalm 71:6 By You I have been upheld from birth; You are He who took me out of my mother’s womb. My praise shall be continually of You.
Jeremiah 1:5 “I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb. Before you were born I set you apart and appointed you as my spokesman to the world.”
The forerunner of Jesus, John the Baptist, was filled with the Holy Spirit even from his mother’s womb according to Luke 1:15:”For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb.”
Throughout scripture those who were great men of God began as such in the womb. However, scripture points that wickedness begins in the womb also.
Psalm 58:3 “The wicked are estranged from the womb: they go astray as soon as they are born, speaking lies.”
Psalm 51:5 David said,”Behold, I was shaped in iniquity: and in sin did my mother conceive me.”
We are all born with a sinful nature which begins in the womb. This nature has to be brought under God’s control. God wants this begun before our children are born.
God had a special plan for Samson. He was to be set apart for God’s service beginning in the womb. God never changes. He still wants children for Himself from their very beginning. God’s will is that every person can say as David said in Psalm 22:10: “I was cast upon You from the womb. You are my God from my mother’s womb.”
Suggested Prenatal Study:
It is interesting that there are 9 Fruit of the Spirit listed in Galatians 5:22-23 and there are 9 months of pregnancy. Take one Fruit each month of pregnancy to study, pray, and meditate on.
Listed below are my notes from studying and meditating on the Fruit of the Spirit when I was pregnant.
1. Love – giving to others’ basic needs without having as my motive any personal reward
John 17:26 And I have declared to them Your name, and will declare it, that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them.”
2. Joy – the exultation of my inward being that results from genuine harmony with God and others
John 17:13 But now I come to You, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have My joy fulfilled in themselves.
3. Peace – harmony with God, others, and self
Philip. 4:7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
4. Longsuffering – patience, endurance, inward strength to withstand stress
2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.
5. Gentleness – expressing personal care appropriate to another’s emotional need
Titus 3:2 to speak evil of no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing all humility to all men.
6. Goodness – righteousness, loving-kindness
Romans 11:22 Therefore consider the goodness and severity of God: on those who fell, severity; but toward you, goodness, if you continue in His goodness. Otherwise you also will be cut off.
7. Faith – visualizing what God intends to do in a given situation and acting in harmony with it
Mark 11:22 So Jesus answered and said to them, “Have faith in God.
8. Meekness – controlled, humble, yielding my personal rights and expectations to God
1 Peter 3:4 rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a meek and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God.
9. Temperance – self control, mastering one’s desires and passions, instant obedience to the initial promptings of God’s Spirit
1 Cor. 9:27 But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.